CEHPRODEC lawyer Donald Hernández: “For those whose lands are stolen and poisoned by mining companies, Canada is synonymous with mining”

Published by Brent Patterson on

Development and Peace animator Kiegan Irish writes: “In capitulating to mining industry interests, the Canadian state is complicit in gross abuses of the land and environmental rights of Indigenous and impoverished communities across the Americas. That was the stark takeaway of an event I cohosted for Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada on September 22 at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library in Kingston, Ontario”

The article by Irish adds: “The panelists were Donald Hernández, a human rights lawyer who directs CEHPRODEC, one of our partner organizations in Honduras and Joan Kuyek, a noted activist and the author of Unearthing Justice: How to Protect Your Community from the Mining Industry.”

Joan Kuyek highlights what international solidarity can include.

CEHPRODEC in Honduras

Irish continues:

Hernández gave an overview of the accompaniment and legal aid that CEHPRODEC provides to land defenders standing up to the extractive industry. This work is critical in Honduras, one of the world’s most dangerous countries for land and environmental defenders.

Hernández explained that because poor rural communities lack the time and resources to acquire expertise in complex mining and property law and international trade frameworks, CEHPRODEC also educates them about these issues and their rights and legal protections.

He said that although much hope is vested in the new Honduran government’s progressive election manifesto, the repression of land defenders continues, and legal structures remain disadvantageous to Indigenous communities. Hernández recalled the criminalization and persecution of [Indigenous Lenca environmental defender] Víctor Vásquez and [journalist] Sonia Pérez, whose cases Development and Peace has highlighted.

PBI-Honduras accompanies CEHPRODEC legal team during the trial for Vásquez, June 2021.

Hernández decried the jarring disproportion between the tiny quantities of minerals extracted and the enormous amount of waste and destruction by the mining industry. He lamented the incalculable social and ecological harm inflicted by unscrupulous mining companies, many of which are Canadian.

Asked by an audience member what Hondurans thought of Canada, Hernández replied, “For those whose lands are stolen and poisoned by mining companies, Canada is synonymous with mining!”

The full article by Kiegan Irish can be read at A call to Canada’s collective conscience.

The Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project has accompanied the Honduran Centre for the Promotion of Community Development (CEHPRODEC) since May 2014.

PBI-Honduras accompanying CEHPRODEC, September 2022.

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